Campaigners are calling for better support for early years education after finding that falling behind at an early age can significantly harm youngsters' prospects.
A study commissioned by the Read On. Get On. campaign reveals poorer children who fall behind in reading earn around 20 per cent an hour less later in life, The Guardian reports.
The quality of private nurseries - which make up three-quarters of England's provision - is too variable and weakest in the most disadvantaged areas, campaigners say.
"On average, children from low-income families are nearly 12 months behind their better-off peers in vocabulary by the time they start school," the report states.
One in five children in England is unable to read properly by the time they leave primary school, with this figure rising to one in three of those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Read On. Get On. claims literacy problems are being exacerbated by the absence of graduates from privately run nurseries, as half do not employ a single graduate teacher.
"By providing quality and qualified teaching in every nursery, we can ensure every child arrives at school with the building blocks in place to learn to read and succeed," said Dame Julia Cleverdon, the chair of the Read On. Get On. campaign.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies analysed data from the British Cohort study, finding disadvantaged children who fall behind in reading earn far less in later life.
Among poorer children, those who were the best readers at age ten go on to earn 20 per cent more per hour on average at age 40 than those with the weakest reading skills.
Read On. Get On. wants all nurseries, especially those serving disadvantaged children, to have at least one early-years trained graduate by 2020.
It is calling on politicians to give their backing to the goal, which would require 11,000 more graduates.
Posted by Theo Foulds